CHILDREN needing hospital treatment due to chest infections may have dropped by as much as a fifth since anti-smoking laws were introduced, research suggests.

A study led by the University of Edinburgh and the Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands combined data from countries where tobacco control policies have been introduced. The figures suggest rates of children requiring hospital care for severe chest infections have dropped by more than 18 per cent since bans were introduced.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute and the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, said: “This work should spur governments to take action to implement policies to reduce second-hand smoke exposure and improve a range of important health outcomes in infants and children.”

Data was taken from over 57m births and 2.7m hospital admissions.